The Compulsions

Been Through Hell

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You could probably tell the Compulsions were from New York City even if you never looked at the liner notes on their EP Been Through Hell -- these guys bring together the sneer of old-school punk and the muscular attack of vintage hard rock with the "so what's it to you?" attitude that floats in the Big Apple's dirty breeze. The opening cut "Rock ‘n' Roll Johnny" hits the ground running like a cross between the Dictators and early AC/DC, and if the disc never hits the target quite as solidly again, there's still plenty of great stuff here, including the blues-infused snarl of "Desperation" and "Jungle Disease," the murky atmospherics of "Davy Jones Locker," and "Demon Love," which sounds like folk-rock as played by Johnny Thunders and David Johansen. And while the slick R&B moves of "Nasty Bitch" don't work as well as the other stuff, the Compulsions sound a lot more convincing in this territory than anyone would expect, especially when guitarist Brian Gabriel lays in some serious feedback at the end. The production by Ken Rich and Hugh Pool makes these songs sound as powerful as they deserve to sound, and if Been Through Hell is a few notches short of perfect, it sounds like the first side of a really good album, and hopefully, we'll get to hear a worthy flipside one of these days.

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